Poetry 2013 / Volume 44

Prayers — Savannah Cooper

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.

I have broken crayons and called names
to faces that looked too much like mine.
I have hated my reflection—not the hair
or the shape, but those stupid, sad eyes.
I have built rickety structures not even
on sand, but on the thinnest of breezes.

Bless me, Father, for I have

nothing left to grieve, but I’m too attached
to my sorrows. They’re sour at first,
like wine, but they go down easier
with every sip. I have lost faces and names
and closenesses, and these griefs are all
the familiar that remains to me.

Bless me, Father, for I

can’t see, and I’m afraid I like the dark.
If I wrap myself up tightly enough, no one
will see me either. I can be my own ghost.
I think I would be good at haunting. This house
is shadowy enough, and I am gray and thin enough.
Maybe, in time, I’ll be absorbed into the walls.

Bless me, Father, for

the days bite and the nights smirk, and I
don’t care for either. The blended scar
above my lip is a story I don’t tell anymore,
maybe because it’s not my story. The one
on the back of my leg though—I hope
it never fades completely, remains always in relief.

Bless me, Father.

Grant me fingers that ache and eyelids that droop,
little sleep and dry lips, the sky-lit cast
of the water before and after and in between
the rain. Oh, Father. Bless me with a closed smile
and an open hand, with a rose, with the unknown,
with the fleet color of his eyes.

Bless me.

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